Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
Saturday 9 August
Repeated Thursday 14 August
Matt Baker goes mad for mud, fish and relics in Bridgwater Bay.
Thirty square miles of mud doesn't sound like an inspiring landscape, but in this week's Open Country Matt Baker meets a man who is positively lyrical about the stuff in Bridgwater Bay. Adrian Sellick is the last fisherman using a wooden mudhorse to propel himself across the flats to his nets, and he tells Matt no two days mud is the same. Adrian blames the nuclear power station at nearby Hinkley Point for dwindling shrimp stocks, but the potential development of a tidal barrage across the Bristol Channel is worrying archaeologists. The mud and peat in Bridgwater Bay have preserved evidence of fishing techniques from saxon times, and submerged forests thousands of years old. Local Archaeologist Richard MacDonnell tells Matt that a barrage could leave some sites high and dry, and others permanently under water. Bridgwater Bay is a National Nature Reserve, and Matt hears that the apparently dull mud is as diverse a habitat as a tropical rainforest. The mud can be treacherous, though, as Matt finds out when he meets the pilot of the Burnham on Sea rescue hovercraft.